Category Archives: Community Outreach

Dunwoody student testifies in MN Legislature on behalf of College’s YCAP program

YCAP student Tiara Hill

Pictured: YCAP student Tiara Hill

On Friday, April 15, Dunwoody College of Technology student Tiara Hill testified before a Minnesota State Senate committee on behalf of the College’s Youth Career Awareness Program (YCAP) to provide background on a bill that would give grants to pilot programs in Ramsey County focused on serving girls of color.

The awarded grants would be used to:

  • Increase the academic success of girls of color.
  • Reduce suspensions in public elementary and secondary schools.
  • Increase on-time high school graduation rates.
  • Encourage their pursuit of a postsecondary education program.

If awarded the grant, the recipient organization would develop a model program that other counties in the Twin Cities metropolitan area can replicate and use.

YCAP: a model for success

Since 1988, Dunwoody’s YCAP program has been a model for enhancing career opportunities for under-represented youth by empowering them to graduate from high school. Its goal is to provide more females and students of color who come from disadvantaged backgrounds the opportunity to attend college. Since its start, YCAP has assisted more than 1,250 students.

YCAP begins with a six-week summer camp where high school juniors and seniors get the chance to explore technical career opportunities and take college-readiness courses.

After the summer camp, YCAP offers a supplemental scholarship to assist with tuition, books, supplies, and technology fees for students choosing to attend Dunwoody.

Ninety six percent of YCAP students graduate from high school and 85% go on to a post-secondary education at Dunwoody. With these success rates, it’s no wonder the Legislature was interested in learning more about it to help form their upcoming decision.

Hill testifies in state Senate

Hill was excited to speak on behalf of YCAP to support this bill because she felt that without the YCAP scholarship, she wouldn’t have been able to attend college.

Hill was accepted into Dunwoody’s YCAP program in 2015 and will earn her Welding Technology certificate in May 2016.

“I didn’t have the option to go to college due to my finances,” Hill said. “[YCAP] gave me that chance, and I think that this bill will give a lot of other women in my situation a chance, too.”

Of the opportunity to testify before the Senate committee, Hill said: “It was amazing! I think that was the first time I had ever been scared, happy and excited all at once!”

After graduation, Tiara plans to come back to Dunwoody to complete a degree in Machine Tool Technology and get more involved in her field of study.

“But my huge goal is to give back to Dunwoody,” Tiara said. “I want to provide people with scholarships to attend school here. I truly enjoyed every moment here, and I am looking forward to next year.”

Find more information about the YCAP program on Dunwoody’s website or contact YCAP program coordinator Peggy Quam at pquam@dunwoody.edu.

Dunwoody College offers unique summer camp opportunities

Looking for something to do this summer? Dunwoody College of Technology is delighted to offer the following camp opportunities for 2016:


STEM Camp Sponsored by Boston Scientific: June 13-16, 2016

Dunwoody’s Robotics & Manufacturing department invites high school students entering their junior and senior years to explore various STEM programs and careers. Learn from technicians, engineers, students, and instructors through short lectures and demonstrations followed by hands-on projects.

Open to students entering 11th and 12th grade.

Click here to register! 


Discovering Interior Design: June 20-23, 2016

Interior Design faculty and other professional designers from the design community will help participants study color, materials, architectural drawing and digital media. Campers will also visit design firms and beautiful spaces around the Twin Cities.

Open to students entering 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th grade.

Click here to register!


Rosie’s Girls: June 20-24 and June 27-July 1

Campers can embody Rosie the Riveter at Dunwoody College’s first ever Rosie’s Girls Camp, hosted by the Girl Scouts River Valleys. Girls entering 6th, 7th and 8th grade will have the chance to learn how to weld, wire, build, draft and design—all with help from women instructors.

Open to girls entering 6th, 7th and 8th grade.

Click here to register!


Arts-n-Crafts, Robots & Computing Camp: July 25-29, 2016

Hosted by Dunwoody’s Computer Technology department, campers will learn the basics of computing through arts and crafts projects. Build and program robots with LEGO Mindstorms ®, learn about Artbotics, and program with Scratch. Dunwoody faculty and staff will lead the activities.

Open to students entering 6th, 7th and 8th grade.

Click here to register!


 

 

 

Two Interior Design students design show sets for Northwest Community Television

Photo of Angelica Sedano and Alyx Paschke

L to R: Angelica Sedano and Alyx Paschke

Late last year, Northwest Community Television (NWCT)—a non-profit organization that offers free production classes, equipment use, and channel time to those in the northwestern suburbs of the Twin Cities—realized they needed a change.

“Our current TV sets were outdated, falling apart, and overdue for an overhaul,” Studio Manager Nikki Jackett said.

And as the 2015 fiscal year was coming to a close, Jackett realized they had some dollars left in their budget. So, she chose to put that money towards set renovation.

A perfect match

“We only had six weeks to get ideas together and the money spent,” Jackett said.

Photo of existing NWCT set

NWCT set prior to remodel.

“Knowing design is not in my wheelhouse and having a limited budget, I asked my boss if I could reach out to students to work with. I’ve had good experiences working with students in the past. I love their energy and eagerness.”

When searching for the students, Jackett said she “never looked beyond Dunwoody.”

“I’ve always heard good things about the school, so it was the first and only one I emailed,” she said.

And when senior Interior Design students Alyx Paschke and Angelica Sedano learned of the project, they knew they had to be involved.

“Set design is something that has always interested me,” Paschke said. “I’m going to grad school for themed entertainment design so this project was very closely aligned with what I am hoping to do.”

The design process

Due to the wide variety of shows offered by NWCT—which includes talk shows, sports shows, children shows, cooking lessons and craft demonstrations—Paschke said, “versatility was a major aspect in the design concept.”

Photo of existing NWCT sets and photo of what they would like after the remodel.

Paschke and Sedano used SketchUp—3D modeling software they use for class projects at Dunwoody— to generate ideas for the new sets.

“We decided it would give us the most for our budget to repurpose and reuse many of the existing sets and set elements,” she said.

And while the students did have complete design freedom, there were some limitations.

“The sets had to be mobile, lightweight, and easily assembled and deconstructed for transportation to and from the set storage warehouse,” Paschke said. “We also had an extremely small budget for all of the sets, construction supplies, finishes, furniture and décor, which allowed us to get creative.”

Paschke and Sedano used SketchUp—3D modeling software they use for class projects at Dunwoody—to design the sets. Here they finalized the set colors, furniture pieces and design budget. Then, they set out to purchase the supplies.

“It felt a little bit like an HGTV show,” Paschke laughed as she described their overflowing carts at Ikea.

In an effort to keep the costs down, the students also approached several industry partners for help—and were successful in doing so.

Example of what a set would look like after the remodelSherwin-Williams agreed to donate the paint for the sets, and representatives from Shakopee Lowes Home Improvement provided budget guidance. Prime General Contractors also helped with transportation.

Thanks to their generosity, the two students were able to stay under-budget and upgrade six existing sets and the station’s kitchen.

The final product

Photo of one of the final sets

One of the final sets designed by Paschke and Sedano.

For Paschke and Sedano, however, the best part of the process was actually seeing the project come to life.

Paschke explained: “As students, a lot of the time we design and we do the 3D renderings—but that’s as far as we get. So it was really fun to see our work actually constructed.”

“It was our first real project like this so it was a little intimidating,” Sedano said. “But we worked together with everyone really well. It was nice to have our first project be with great people.”

Photo of Paschke and Sedano

Paschke and Sedano at the NWCT Open House.

Jackett agreed: “Throughout the entire process, Alyx and Angelica demonstrated an unbelievable passion for design and a keen understanding of what it means to meet the expectations laid forth while also looking outside of the box in exuding their own creativity. I can’t wait for the next opportunity to work with them and recommend them to others.”

According to NWCT’s latest newsletter, this is the Station’s first remodel since the media center opened in 1998. NWCT displayed the newly renovated sets at an Open House event late last month.

Paschke and Sedano will graduate this May with a bachelor’s degree in Interior Design.

Learn more about Dunwoody’s Interior Design program.

Dunwoody College celebrates Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month, and Dunwoody is celebrating in some very exciting ways!

Starting tomorrow, the College has several women-focused events on campus, including:

The 76th Diversity Forum: Women’s History Month with guest speaker Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson.
March 15, 12:30 p.m. in the McNamara Center
Contact: lparvis@dunwoody.edu

A Kate’s Club Meeting for all Dunwoody women interested in attending  a supportive, networking event.
March 17, 2:45 p.m.
Contact: katesclub@dunwoody.edu

A Salary Negotiation Workshop for students in Dunwoody’s Women in Technical Careers (WITC) Scholarship program.
March 18, 4:30 p.m.
Contact: mwhitman@dunwoody.edu

Note: If you are not a WITC student and are looking for salary negotiation tips, please contact rborchardt@dunwody.edu.

The College has also launched a social media campaign to celebrate women in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) professions—occupations that have been historically dominated by men. The campaign features Dunwoody women employees, students, and alumni who are pursuing or already working in a STEAM career.

Several of the campaign’s participants include:

Melysia_Cha

Emily_Miner

Beverly_White

Nicole_Nusbaum
The College invites all women in STEAM careers to participate! To join the campaign, simply tweet or instagram your photo, career choice, and a sentence about what makes you, you.

Make sure to use the hashtag #STEAMwoman or use our social media handle @dunwoodycollege.

Happy Women’s History Month from Dunwoody!

Dunwoody Architecture students help create 8 affordable housing projects at Search for Shelter Design Charrette

Photo of Aaron McCauley-Aburto, Kyle Huberty, and Gianna Madison

From L to R: Aaron McCauley-Aburto, Kyle Huberty and Gianna Madison.

Dunwoody Architecture students Aaron McCauley-Aburto, Kyle Huberty, and Gianna Madison,  joined nearly 60 other students and professionals for a rigorous three-day, pro bono brainstorm at the annual Search for Shelter Design Charrette Feb 19-21.

The goal of the Charrette—organized by industry partner American Institute of Architects (AIA)—is to bring together architects, interior designers, landscapers, students, and affordable housing representatives to help generate housing solutions for the homeless.

Despite Search for Shelter beginning over 3 decades ago, AIA representatives say homelessness continues to be a problem throughout the nation—and right here in Minnesota.

The Dunwoody students volunteered their time and expertise to assist in the project, which could help participating affordable housing organizations to move forward with eight different developments.

The entire Search for Shelter event lasted around 42 hours.

For both the students and the future residents, however, the impact will last much longer.

Dunwoody students humbled by event

“Everyone participating at the event really came together to work for a common goal—one that didn’t have a paycheck attached to it,” Madison said. “It made it a very sincere, untainted and humbling experience.”

Huberty agreed: “I think the appearance of architecture is that sometimes it’s for only the 1% who can afford an architect to design a home–and that is somewhat a reality of the industry. And so, I enjoy when opportunities like this come along where we can serve people who couldn’t normally afford it,” he said.

Hands-on, technical education proved invaluable at event

When asked if a Dunwoody education helped prepare the students for the project, the answer “yes” was unanimous. The group agreed that had they not been receiving a technical education, actively participating in an event of this magnitude would have been nearly impossible.

“Our technical education allowed us to become valuable assets within the group, and to make meaningful contributions to the group—especially as relatively inexperienced students,” McCauley-Aburto said.

Huberty agreed explaining that because of his Dunwoody education, he felt confident in working and designing with the other practicing architects in the room—and in some instances, even felt on the same level of expertise as them.

“I think the impression with a technical school is that it limits your creativity,” Huberty said. “People think since you are focusing on the software, that that gets in the way of the actual artistic expression.”

“But I think it is the opposite,” he continued. “We have been able to get our technical foundation first so that we can jump right into the artistic expression–because we know our tools are sufficient to get us there.”

Students hope to continue with Search for Shelter, affordable housing

The Dunwoody students hope to stay involved with the organization, their projects, and the affordable housing movement. In fact, some of the students are even considering specializing in affordable housing work upon graduation.

And while the students don’t know their exact career plans just yet, the group agreed that no matter where life takes them, they are just looking to “do something meaningful.”

Madison is set to graduate in May 2018. Huberty and McCauley-Aburto follow in May 2019.

Learn more about Dunwoody Architecture.

Automotive Dean’s service celebrated at annual potluck, department continues Toys for Tots donation

Dunwoody Automotive students loading up their lunch plates at the annual holiday potluck event in the Warren buildingFor the past two decades or so, Dunwoody’s Automotive Department has celebrated the holiday season in a memorable way. The Warren Building is festively decorated; long banquet tables are packed with crock-pot treats; Toys for Tots donations are collected; and students celebrate the end of their final exams and presentations.

This year, however, the annual holiday potluck was even more special than usual as students, staff and faculty bid farewell to Automotive Dean Jon Kukachka who is set to retire January 15.

Kukachka leaves Dunwoody with fond memories

Dunwoody Automotive students loading up their lunch plates at the annual holiday potluck event in the Warren building

“The holiday potlucks are definitely something that Automotive graduates remember about their time here,” Kukachka said. “I am going to miss events like these. The students have always been very special to me.”

Kukachka–who has provided the College with over 30 years of service–has been the program’s dean since 2010.

Retiring Dunwoody Automotive Dean Jon Kukachka speaking to Automotive students at the annual holiday potluck event “I have tried to be the kind of dean that students would not be afraid to talk to,” he said. “I wanted students to know that they could come to me about anything—good or bad—whatever was on their mind,” he said.

Faculty applaud student’s Toys for Tots donation

While the farewell was bittersweet, Kukachka was pleased to learn that the Automotive department did well in another  Toys for Tots fundraiser.

“The department has been donating to Toys for Tots ever since Dunwoody got involved with the program in the late ‘80s or early ‘90s,” Kukachka said. “It has become a tradition that the Auto Department does well so every year we try to instill that drive into our students.”

This year a friendly competition was implemented throughout the College with a first place prize of $150 awarded to the department who raised the most dollars and/or collected the most toys.

During the potluck, Automotive donations were totaled, revealing a grand total of about $2,000 in cash and toys—more than any other department.

Dunwoody Automotive students standing next to toys being donated to Toys for Tots

Program faculty decided to continue the season of giving by also donating their $150 winnings to the toy drive.

Kukachka says that this is the most the Automotive department has ever raised, making it a department—and quite possibly a Dunwoody—record.

Dunwoody College wishes Kukachka all the best

“This year’s potluck was very special to me,” Kukachka said.

“I will miss the people—both students and coworkers. I came here in 1980 wondering if I had made the right decision to change occupations. I know now that yes, I made the right decision to work at Dunwoody.”

On behalf of Dunwoody’s students, faculty and staff, the College wishes Kukachka all the best on his retirement.

Dunwoody hosts MIE meeting to help enhance international students’ experience

Dr. Leo Parvis talking to audience at October MIE Meeting at Dunwoody College of TechnologyThe College recently welcomed members from Minnesota International Educators (MIE) as they attended a board meeting on campus. The MIE is a professional association that works to help staff and educators in international student admissions and/or services create a positive experience for international students across the state of Minnesota.

“We decided to host the meeting at Dunwoody because we wanted to bring more visibility to the College. We wanted other schools to know where we are located and that we do accept international students,” said International Student Admissions Counselor Meera Weist. “It is also a great opportunity to find out what other colleges are doing and determine what we can and should incorporate here as well.”

MIE board member talking to audience at October MIE Meeting at Dunwoody College of TechnologyThe three-hour meeting included updates from the MIE and the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP); a discussion on immigration changes; and a student panel.

The panel—consisting of international students from MCAD, UM-Twin Cities and St. Olaf College who are also part of the LGTBQ community—described how their gender identity and/or sexual orientation affected their study abroad experience, and what educators can do to help improve it.

MIE board members and guests discussing updates at October MIE Meeting at Dunwoody College of TechnologyA first time event for Dunwoody, Weist says the meeting was an excellent way for the Dunwoody Admissions team to continue to understand—and enhance—international student’s stay here in the Twin Cities.

If you are an international student looking to continue your education at Dunwoody, please contact Weist at mwiest@dunwoody.edu.

Dunwoody Hosts Waterborne Spray Paint Training and Demonstration

Dunwoody’s Automotive Collision Repair & Refinishing Department recently held a free, six-hour training session on aqueous paint systems for collision repair. The training was followed by an in-booth waterborne base coat and clear coat spot repair demonstration.

A photo of a Dunwoody classroom filled with event attendees

The purpose of the training was to inform the public—especially those in the automotive industry—the benefits of using, and properly applying, waterborne paint, instead of traditional solvent-based paint, on a newly repaired vehicle.

Nearly 30 individuals participated in the demo, including representatives from Heppner’s Auto Body & Collision Repair; Keystone Refinish (LKQ Corp); Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MNTAP); University of Northern Iowa Waste Reduction Center; Environmental Initiative Group; Kansas State University; PPG Automotive Refinish; and the City of Minneapolis were in attendance.

The training comes at a time when many auto repair shops are adopting the more environmentally friendly paint system technologies.

The Benefits of Using Waterborne Based Paint

Over the last few years, water-borne based paints have gained A photo of the waterborne paint expert talking at the event inside Dunwoody's waterborne spray paint booth traction around the U.S. and internationally. They have been proven to:

  • Produce better color matches;
  • Improve spot repairs;
  • Reduce solvent exposure;
  • Emit fewer air pollutants; and
  • Produce less hazardous waste–making them a popular choice in many auto repair shops.

Due to this shift in technology, Dunwoody installed a waterborne spray paint booth in its Collision Repair Shop earlier this year. The booth was made possible through several donations and a grant from the City of Minneapolis. Since then, the Automotive Collision & Repair program’s curriculum has drastically changed, focusing heavily on waterborne-paint application.

Event Attendees Learn Best Practices from Local Professionals

Dunwoody’s curriculum, additional grant opportunities from the City of Minneapolis, and waterborne paint application tips and techniques, were discussed at the event. Attendees were also able to participate in a virtual paint demonstration, which analyzes a person’s spray technique, rates their overall performance, and provides helpful feedback on how the painter can improve.

The program concluded with an actual waterborne spray paint demonstration inside Dunwoody’s paint booth.

Make the Switch to Waterborne: Learn MoreA photo of event attendees listening to the waterborne spray paint demonstration inside Dunwoody's spray paint booth

Dunwoody’s seminar was held in conjunction with the Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP) at the University of Minnesota; Environment
al Initiative; the City of Minneapolis; and MPCA’s Small Business Environmental Assistance Program (SBEAP). All organizations aim to improve air quality, eliminate waste, and better train local painters.

For more information on waterborne paint, contact Bruce Graffunder. For financial assistance opportunities to fund your shift to waterborne paint, contact the City of Minneapolis, MN Tap, or the Environmental Initiative Group.